The mass transit sector in a lot of African countries is served by private operators using diesel buses of varying capacities. These could range from 14-seater small buses/shuttle vans to 30- to 40-seater buses. Some operators also use higher capacity buses with the capacity to ferry over 60 passengers. Bus operators in this sector face ever increasing servicing and maintenance costs as well as high diesel fuel prices. This is one of the reasons why a strong focus is now being placed on electrifying this sector.
In Kenya, these buses are popularly known as Matatus. Roam is one of the companies active in the electric bus space. Roam has been piloting a high capacity electric bus called the Roam Rapid in Kenya for some time now with several bus operators. The Roam Rapid has a carrying capacity of 77 passengers.
Roam Mass Transit Specifications:
- Battery capacity: 384 kWh
- Range: 360 km
- Dimensions (LxHxW): 12500 x 3300 x 2550 mm
- Top speed: 70 km/h
- Seat capacity: 77 passengers
- Weight: 18,000 kg
- Fastest charging time: 2 h
- DC fast charging
Now Roam has just unveiled a second model in its electric bus range. This time, a smaller electric bus to cater to the middle segment in the Matatu sector.
“The Roam Move, is a zero-emissions shuttle bus fashioned for high performance through unmatched design, with each detail developed to provide an exceptional passenger experience. Equipped with a 170 kWh battery pack, the electric shuttle bus can travel 200 km on a single charge. This extended range ensures uninterrupted service throughout the day, catering to the demands of urban commuters. Utilizing fast plug-in battery charging that ensures the bus is fully charged in less than two hours, the Roam Move builds on electric mobility’s legacy of being reliable. Moreover, the Roam Move boasts operating costs that are 50% lower, attributed to its exemption from expensive maintenance and its streamlined construction with fewer moving parts, thereby minimising downtimes. These combined factors lead to substantial savings, amounting to as much as KES 35 per kilometre journeyed.”
Roam adds that the Roam Move was designed with the needs of Kenyan commuters in mind. The electric bus possesses a spacious interior with a capacity to accommodate up to 51 passengers, ergonomic seating, spacious aisles, and a whisper-quiet ride that enhances the passenger experience while reducing noise pollution in densely populated areas. The bus is also equipped with cutting-edge safety features, including collision avoidance systems, advanced driver assistance, and robust structural integrity. This kind of bus is also quite popular with schools in Kenya that use buses in this segment to ferry children to and from their homes to schools. This is therefore a segment that Roam is looking at as well to replace diesel school buses.
Roam says this electric shuttle bus represents a fusion of innovation, technology, and environmental consciousness. Assembled entirely in Kenya, the bus exemplifies Roam’s commitment to supporting local manufacturing while advancing the nation’s sustainability goals. The Roam Move’s Chassis has been designed for local conditions and specifications and is assembled in Kenya from imported components. The Roam Move’s body is made in Kenya from components sourced locally from locally suppliers using locally manufactured materials. Roam adds that this vehicle is poised to revolutionize public transportation by providing a zero-emission solution that addresses air quality challenges, reduces reliance on imported fossil fuels, and promotes domestic renewable energy utilization.
Dennis Wakaba, Roam’s Country Sales Executive, says, “We are thrilled to introduce ‘The Roam Move,’ Kenya’s very own electric shuttle bus. This achievement aligns perfectly with our vision of fostering sustainable transportation solutions that make a positive impact on our environment and our communities. The launch of this electric shuttle bus represents not only a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability but also a testament to the talent and potential within Kenya’s manufacturing industry.”
Roam Move Specifications:
- Battery Capacity: 170 kWh
- Seat capacity: Up to 51 passengers
- Range: 200 km fully loaded
- Top Speed: 80 km/h
- Dimensions (LxHxW): 9500×2500×3200 mm
- Weight: 13,500 kg
- Fastest charging time: 1.5hrs
- Door system: 1 main passenger door + driver door
- Price: US$135,000, about twenty million Kenya Shillings
Images courtesy of Roam
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